Some of the most influential teachers in a child’s life are coaches and gym teachers. Physical education is a vital part of school experience, now more than ever as the United States copes with an epidemic of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The people who teach healthy behaviors and lifestyles to our children while they are young are teaching them to live long healthy active lives. These lessons will go forward with young people once they leave the school system.
Physical education is a specialty – teachers need to know more than the sports they teach, they need to know about developmental levels in children, and all the usual techniques of communication and classroom management. They need to be aware, along with the school nurse, of any physiological issues with a child’s health. They often are champions of the physical education program, applying for PEP grant funding and making sure that facilities remain in good, safe shape for children’s activities.
Several resources exist for PE teachers on the web, and it is a good idea for parents to take a look at the standards and resources for these professionals. The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance www.aahperd.org is a professional association of PE teachers and all professionals in recreational fields. They develop professional guidelines, standards and ethics, and connect professionals with resources and new developments in their field.
Teachers and recreation leaders will find a wealth of information at www.pecentral.org. This site includes lesson plans, activities, updates on research, state standards, and funding. There is also a section on adapted physical education for individuals with disabilities.
Many PE programs rely on funding from federal PEP grants (The Carol M White Physical Education Program). 2006 PEP funding has been approved. For further information on this important grant, visit